Mr. James Cargill Haldane

James Haldane, 36, was a Scottish national and British subject living in Quincy, Massachusetts, United States, returning to visit his hometown of Glasgow, Scotland. He was one of the men who built the Lusitania when the ship was under construction and he was aboard the ship when she was torpedoed and sunk on 7 May 1915. Haldane survived the Lusitania sinking but later enlisted in the Canadian Army, where he was killed in action in August 1918. A newspaper article reporting Haldane's death mentioned that he was "one of the last men to leave the ship" and that he jumped overboard "when there were no more lifeboats or rafts left" (several lifeboats actually sank with the ship). Haldane's account of the Lusitania sinking includes this heartrendering account:
Many women put the lifebelt around their waist. As a consequence, they were unable to keep their heads above the water and were speedily drowned. The most pathetic sight of any which I witnessed was that of a man who strove bravely to save his child--a wee mite of eighteen months or so. I was swimming some distance away from them when they first came under my notice. The man had got hold of a hatch cover and had lifted the child on to it. He himself was in the water clinging to the wreckage with one hand, while with the other he held the child, keeping her in a sitting position. Their case seemed hopeless. The child was about done for when I saw them, and the man was palpably near the extreme stage of exhaustion. He was as white as a ghost. I turned on my back to rest, and when I looked again the man and child had disappeared, and the wreckage to which they had been clinging was floating away...the impression made on my mind by that little tragedy stamps it the most vivid of all my recollections of the awful time I spent in the water.
Haldane was initially reported to be among the lost in the Lusitania sinking, thus surprising his friends when he cabled them to tell them he was safe. He returned to the United States several months later and enlisted in the Canadian Army "to avenge outrage" as the newspaper report of his death put it. Reports to his friends from the front lines were irregular. Unconfirmed reports of his death appeared from time to time, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission reports 1031367 Private James Haldane of the Canadian infantry as killed in action on 12 August 1918, which was printed in the newspapers on 29 August 1918. Haldane is memorialized at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial at Givenchy-en-Gohelle, France. Haldane was perhaps the only person to have seen both the birth and death of the Lusitania.

Links of interest


James Haldane at Lest We Forget – Encyclopedia Titanica

Contributors Cliff Barry, UK Jim Kalafus, USA Peter Kelly, Ireland Michael Poirier, USA References: "Haldane, James." Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Online. <http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1568767/HALDANE,%20JAMES> Accessed 4 May 2015  12:24 a.m. Kalafus, Jim, Michael Poirier, Cliff Barry and Peter Kelly (2013) “Lest We Forget : The Lusitania.” Gare Maritime. (ref: #10962, accessed 27th April 2015 03:24:39 PM) URL : http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lest-we-forget-the-lusitania.html

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